Are you the kind of person who leaps out of bed at the first peal of their alarm, puts on the workout outfit they laid out the night before and runs off into the grey dawn beaming with joy? Or are you the kind of person who comes alive once the sun goes down, loves the peace and quiet of exercising when it’s dark outside and adores the feeling of falling into bed tired but happy from their recent workout?
Whatever your style, at the end of the day what matters is that you managed to fit exercise into your day, regardless of the time you do it. However, we are Innermost care deeply about going beyond the bare minimum and pushing our bodies and minds to the very best places they can go. Is there a time of day which is the most optimal to exercise?
What are the benefits of exercising in the morning?
The early bird catches the worm. By fitting in a workout before most people have managed to rouse themselves for their first coffee, you’ll have kickstarted your day and set yourself up for a productive, positive morning and afternoon.
By exercising before tackling anything else on your to do list, you’ll be able to fully focus on your workout routine, as well as proving to yourself that you prioritise fitness and value making time to fit it into your schedule. A morning workout can also boost energy levels throughout the day, so you’re setting yourself up for productivity and focus with an earlying HIIT class or a swim.
If you’re exercising to lose weight, you’ll be interested to know that working out before your first meal may help the body to burn fat more effectively compared to exercising later in the day, as well as boosting your metabolism so you’ll be burning more calories as you go about your workday and evening routine, even at rest.
What are the negative side effects of morning workout?
When your alarm goes off before the sun has even risen, it’s no easy task to drag yourself out of your warm and cosy bed, put on tight gym clothes and head off into the early morning chill to jump on a treadmill.
On a biological level, our lungs function at a lower rate in the mornings than in the evenings, as airways are more constricted following a full night of sleep. Additionally, joints and muscles are at their stiffest, making moving around more challenging and making your more prone to injuries. Make sure to stretch thoroughly to avoid this.
Exercising in the morning also means that you’re more likely to be running on empty, as your body has just come out of sleep with no food and little water intake. An Innermost protein shake before or after your workout will help to combat this.
What are the benefits of exercising at night?
Are you a night owl? If you live for the moment the sun goes down and come alive in the evening when the rest of the world is winding down into rest, working out when the sun has sunk below the horizon could be a perfect fit for you.
Science tends to think that exercising later in the evening is more beneficial than earlier in the day, as you’ll have more strength and energy. Your body temperature is higher at this time, which means that your joints and muscles are up to 20% more flexible. This means you’re far less likely to injure yourself. Metabolism and lung functions are also operating at a higher level, so it’s likely you’ll have more endurance and power. Finally, night time exercising is a great way to relieve stress and frustrations from the day. Boxing class where you imagine the bag is your boss, anyone?
What are the disadvantages of exercising at night?
Picture the scene: it’s 6pm, you’ve just left work, it’s raining and you’re exhausted after a day of pretending to pay attention in meetings. Would you rather hit the gym, or head home to your sofa for a long evening of Netflix and snacks? We know what the more tempting option is.
You’re more likely to feel tired in the evening than in the morning and it’s also more likely your workout will get pushed to the side because of an emergency at work, family demands or the temptation of happy hour at that bar just around the corner from your office.
It’s also possible that exercising close to the time when you go to bed could make it harder to fall asleep, as your body temperature, heart rate and metabolism will be elevated. To combat this, it could be helpful to do some yoga or gentle stretching before hitting the sack.
Whichever time of day you choose to exercise, what matters is that you do it at all - and if this means waking up at 5am every day to a gym class or going for a bike ride around your neighbourhood at 10pm, it’s all about your personal lifestyle and time management.